Today is Ferragosto, the main summer holiday in Italy started in the first century bc to celebrate the harvest. 2,000 years later, the country still uses the day as a holiday but we’re one or two months away from harvesting the grapes (depending on the grape and the region). As we have seen over and over again this summer, changes to climate are forcing winemakers to adapt their methods and what Lauren & Luca learned in the Italian sommelier course 2 years ago is already out of date.
Watch the video
A further adaptation to climate change: the summer pruning process.
Make wine not…jam
A few decades ago, winemakers in Tuscany were focusing on quantity over quality. Then new techniques were introduced to remove vines from the vineyard and even grapes from the plant in order to concentrate the sugars and quality of individual bunches.
But rising summer temperatures have led winemakers like Matteo to prune less, already reversing the trend of the last few decades. Especially in a location like the Maremma/Bolgheri area where flat plains along the coast can get up to a hundred degrees, not pruning too much is essential.
“If we cut too many grapes,” he explained, “the sun will cook the ones that remain.” Instead of making wine, you’ll end up making something that tastes more like a jammy juice, simply because the grapes are getting too much sunlight, producing too much sugar and therefore alcohol in the final product.
In the past, grapes from Puglia and Sicily in the south of Italy were shipped north to mix with colder temperature grapes to soften their acidity, tannins and raise the alcohol content. These days that’s not only impossible if you want to make a DOC wine, it’s also not necessary: what once were cooler climates are heating up.
Wine Word of the Week
Se non facciamo lo scioglimento del grappolo, il vino diventa marmellatoso!
If we don’t disentangle the grape bunches, the wine will become too jammy!
We’ll be tasting Imperiale! Bolgheri, Super Tuscan but also affordable.